TORONTO – Steven Nielsen grew up in Denmark and played a number of sports such as soccer and handball, but he also didn’t like to play. Then came football and everything changed.
His brother started playing and after watching him for a year, Nielsen decided to immerse himself in himself.
“I just fell in love with the sport,” said Nielsen. “I was finally able to use my size and my aggressiveness. Then, as I continued to play, I fell more and more in love with the sport and learned the various techniques, games, schemes and the like. “
Nielsen played at club level for a few years for fun. But at the age of 17 he started looking for schools in the US to make a career out of the sport he loved.
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He ended up in Indiana at La Lumiere High School, where he was able to switch to an NCAA program.
“It was difficult, more on a personal basis, just to be that far from my family,” he said. “Practice too. We practiced at home twice a week, and when I was in prep school we practiced every day and exercised in the morning. So there was a lot more training and football during the day than I was used to. That was a big transition and it helped me prepare for college.
Nielsen eventually signed up to play Eastern Michigan, where he would spend his entire college career. He says it felt like home as soon as he walked onto campus.
During his time with the Eagles, the 6-foot-8, 307-pounder played across the offensive line. He originally played tackle coming up but was used as a freshman on the left. He played the correct tackle in his sophomore and sophomore years before the team moved him again, this time to leave the tackle for his senior season.
While moving around so often has been a challenge, Nielsen has also learned immensely from those opportunities and says he is better off now.
His final college season was in 2019. After leaving Eastern Michigan, Nielsen was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars as an unoccupied free agent. Unfortunately he has been cut and trained since then.
Nielsen has always been a fan of the CFL game and last year he was looking into the possibility of going to the Global Combine but he was still focused on the NFL and not participating. However, this year he will be looking to make it north of the border and is looking forward to the chance to qualify for one of the nine CFL franchises.
“That would be huge,” said Nielsen of the prospect of being drafted. “Just for the development of football in Denmark, just to have another professional player. I think it is a great opportunity to keep that notoriety for the Danish players so that young people feel that it is possible. No matter where it is, you can play professional football. “
As a big body who can play across the board – not to mention occupying a global spot on a CFL roster in a key position like the offensive line – Nielsen should be able to do what he learned in college to bring in and expand his skills once he’s come to Canada.
“On the field you would get a very athletic, tall man who can move and knows how to take blockers and dominate people,” said Nielsen. “As a team player, you get someone who is very motivating and hardworking, and someone who is always there for your teammates.
“… I enjoy run blocking the most because you can beat someone. Pass blocking, you need to be a little more patient. But even in college, I liked to take the aggressiveness to pass the block. I used to go straight for guys. I now understand that this will be a little more difficult because they are a little further away from me now. But hopefully I can bring this aggressiveness to the passing game. “